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March 11, 2022

MetLife will be the worst hit life insurer in Ukraine owing to the ongoing political unrest

By GlobalData Financial

The full impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on insurers will not be known for some time, however, it is clear those with the most exposure in either country will be hit hardest in the short term, and MetLife is the market leader in Ukrainian life insurance.

GlobalData’s Company LOB Breakdowns database shows that MetLife holds a 31% share in the Ukraine life insurance market. Other Western insurers that have a presence in either Ukraine or Russia holds much smaller market shares than MetLife, making it one of the most vulnerable global insurers to this crisis.

Source: GlobalData’s Company LOB Breakdowns database

While Western insurers are pulling out of Russia and terminating contracts, there are no moral reasons to pull out of Ukraine, so policies should remain valid. The fallout is likely to be unknown for the foreseeable future, especially as the war continues. It is likely that MetLife will face a significant rise in claims in the near future, although the scale of exclusions for acts of war remains to be seen.

The insurer’s 31% share in 2020 equated to $57.7m worth of premiums. The figure for 2021 will be similar as there was little disruption, but it is likely to see a significant fall in 2022 and beyond. Large parts of the population have fled Ukraine, while many people remaining will be unable to pay their premiums.

Overall, this business represents a tiny proportion of MetLife’s overall book, which had $42.2bn in gross written premiums in 2020. The damage will be more serious to local insurers with smaller shares in Ukraine, such as Tas and UNIQA.

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